It Is Better to Give Then to Recieve

by Arnold Nelson

      That is what we were taught when we were kids. It is true, but at times you have to be on the receiving end so that someone else can get the good feelings you get when you help someone else.

      I grew up in a big family I have 5 sisters and 2 brothers. My Dad had too much pride. He refused to accept help from anyone. He always said he could take care of his children, he did not need anyone's help. The reality was, we were poor and we suffered because of his pride. Here is a short story that shows exactly what kind of Father I had.

     When we were young my Grandma use to visit us (She was one of the most beautiful women I have ever known. She would give you the shirt off her back if you asked for it.) Every time she visited she would bring us presents. One day My Dad caught his mother-in-law in the kitchen and jumped on her. He said I don't want charity, anything my family needs I can provide. Quit giving them things. Grandma got really mad (Which did not happen often) and she told him. Who are you to deny me the pleasure I get by giving things to my grandchildren? He said after that he looked at things a lot different.

     Luckily we had a Mother who was not afraid to accept help. We got a lot of hand-me-downs from neighbors. We would get new clothes at the beginning of the school year the rest of the time we would wear whatever used clothes my Mom was able to get hold of. I remember our school lunches. Every morning Mom would clean off the counter and count the kids going to school that day and set out twice that many slices of bread. Then she would put jelly on half the slices and peanut butter on the other half. She would put the pieces together wrap them up and put them in lunch bags and that was our lunches. We also got money to buy milk everyday at school. I don't know what the other kids did but I always had friends that had stuff in their lunches they decided they didn't want, so I took it. I usually ended up with a pretty good lunch thanks to my friends.

     I remember one time my dad was in the hospital for an operation. All of a sudden we started getting all this food from friends and we were getting free lunches at school. It was great. At soon as my Dad got home he stopped everything. He had too much pride and could not accept help.

    When I was in Junior High (Middle School now) I was in a service club and I was handing out balls at lunch so kids could play after they ate. I got so busy that one day I asked my Mom to quit making me a lunches. After that I never brought a lunch to school. Most of the time I didn't eat lunch. If I had a little money and time I would buy something otherwise I went without. One time I was watching a table tennis game during lunch and someone in the crowd ask his friend if he had money because he was hungry. A few minutes later the game had ended and everyone went their own way.

     A little later a friend came up and held out his hand. There was a little pile of change in it and a lunch ticket. He said this is for you. So I took it and said thank you. Then I had a good lunch that day. After I had eaten the boy came back to me and said are you still hungry I said no. He left with a big smile on his face. That boy went around and collected that money because he thought I was the kid that said he was hungry. He was even willing to go out and get more money if I said I was still hungry.

     I guess I have a little of my Dad in me because they all knew I went without lunch most of the time. They also knew I would not ask for help unless I really needed it. Whoever said it is better to give then receive was sure right. I have had the joy of helping others out many times, but there are times, though, when you have to be on the receiving end and let someone have the pleasure of helping you out. There is nothing wrong with a little pride. There is nothing wrong with being proud of who you are and where your family came from, but too much pride is very bad.

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